Synthetic Biology

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Master students in Biology, Biophysics, Chemistry.


The course aims at providing a general picture of the emerging field of Synthetic Biology. The following tiopics will be covered:

Molecular computing in vitro and in cells. DNA computers and biocomputing.

Synthetic biology of gene expression regulatory circuits.

Synthesis of orthogonal modules in the cell (Transcription, translation, signalling, metabolic pathways for metabolic engineering)

Molecular evolution in vitro and molecular repertoires. Combinatorial libraries. 

Synthetic immunology, immune system in vitro, antibody libraries. Intracellular antibodies for protein interference.

Synthetic virology: synthetic biology of the viral cycle.

The genetic code: origin and evolution. Genetic code expansion. genetic incorporation of unnatural aminoacids into proteins. Synthetic biology of the translation module. Orthogonal ribosomes.

Synthetic biology of nucleic acids and of their replication. XNAs, synthetic nucleic acids.

Minimal genomes and the minimal cell. Towards the artificial cell, synthetic biology of cell construction.

Optogenetics: light as an orthogonal signal. Optogenetic control of transcription. Neuropotogenetics: optogenetic control of neuronal electrical activity.

Obiettivi formativi

Provide a critical picture of hot topics in current Synthetic Biology and its applications. Provide an access to the original literature and insipre students to start their own projects. 

Riferimenti bibliografici

Original articles from the literature, that will be provided.